Australians are a predictable bunch. In 2010 our regional passenger travel totalled 145 billion kilometres, 65 billion kilometres of this travel was within a 200km wide stretch from Melbourne to Brisbane. Zero Carbon’s high speed rail report evaluates a proposed corridor spanning from Brisbane to Melbourne. Brisbane to Sydney could be achieved in only 3.5 hrs on a direct trip. 60% of Australians would be within 50 kms of the closest stop. In the Northern Rivers the local stop would be Lismore. A high speed rail terminal connected with regional rail running on our existing infrastructure would enable residents, and visitors, to travel unencumbered by cars. The high speed rail project is budgeted at a total cost of $84 billion. Setting passenger fares lower than equivalent airfares would see infrastructure and running costs returned within 40 years. It’s very exciting to envision such efficient transport being used to is maximum potential, as it can here in Australia. High speed rail really meets its best use for trips between 350 and 1300 Kms. Shorter journeys fall to regional rail, cycle, or drive, whilst longer distances are best served by air. Zero Carbon states that the proposed High Speed Rail can be powered by 100% renewable energy, and would result in almost 10% fewer Aeroplane journeys operating through Sydney. Get the full pdf report here
Trains on our Tracks (TOOT) president Karin Kolbe has accused Don Page and other north coast politicians of lying to the public about their intentions for north coast rail in order to garner their votes.
BYRON Shire Council has given its unanimous support behind a proposal for a light rail service to run between the town and the North Beach Byron Resort at Belongil. The motion to support the light rail plan was put to the council at its ordinary meeting on Thursday by deputy mayor, Diane Woods and was passed with no opposition from fellow councillors. The proposal, by the developers of the North Byron Beach Resort, is for a community and tourist rail shuttle service that would use a leased vintage 660 series railmotor that can seat 100 people to transport people back and forth between the resort and the CBD, utilising 3km of railway track. The project would cost close to $1million in capital works and offer 10 shuttle services a day at a $3 one way fare. The proposal is before the State Government and if approved, the first rail service could occur by December 2014. In a report to the council, the developers said that overall the track appears to be in good condition, while the repair of the Belongil Creek Bridge is anticipated to cost between $250,000 – $350,000. “I think this will be an absolutely fantastic solution to transport between town and the resort, the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival and for residents at Sunrise Beach,” Cr Woods said. “Hopefully this may also open up a fuller service operating between the CBD and the Bluesfest site at Tyagarah,” she said. The plan has been welcomed by local rail supporters, the TOOT, Trains on our Tracks group. “It confirms the viability of light rail in the Northern Rivers,” president of TOOT Karin Kolbe said. “Their plan for shared use of the Belongil bridge by both rail and cyclists/walkers demonstrates that the corridor can be shared. “Once the initial service is established, it can then be extended further along the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line”. Cr Woods said the council owns the land adjacent to North Beach Byron’s proposed tavern and said the land, “may be suitable for parking which would benefit any future park and ride proposals.” Source: Megan Kinninment, http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/support-builds-for-light-rail-service/2115298/
Photo: Oran Viriyincy THE State Government’s report into the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line may seem like the end of the line to many rail enthusiasts, but not for Byron mayor Simon Richardson. The report has been widely criticised by the Greens and local rail advocacy group TOOT, who say the costs quoted in the report ($900 million to restore rail services) are “unbelievable”. The report recommends the line remain closed and that improvements to bus services are the best way to address the region’s public transport needs. But Byron Council passed a mayoral minute at their meeting last week to the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, and also Minister for Local Government and the North Coast Don Page, pointing out numerous deficiencies and omissions in the report. “The State Government got the report they wanted,” Cr Richardson said. He is requesting that a light rail service for the Byron region, specifically Yelgun to Bangalow, be investigated and is calling for council to facilitate a potential users group. He said festival organisers for both the Bluesfest site at Tyagarah and the Splendour in the Grass site at Yelgun would be well-served by a light rail service. Bluesfest organisers were looing at “running two to three events a year” and Splendour organisers have said they have approval for three events per year at their Yelgun site. Cr Richardson said both “could benefit from a light rail service to Byron.” A spokeswoman for Splendour in the Grass said the festival organisers had approval only for up to three events per year at the site. Cr Richardson recently returned from visiting a volunteer-run steam train service from the Adelaide Hills to Victor Harbour in South Australia. It is run by the Australian Railways Historical Society and Cr Richardson has invited them to join the Byron users group forum, along with youth representatives, market organisers and other community transport advocates. Fellow Byron councillor Basil Cameron, who is also a member of TOOT, is trying to revive a plan to have a “park-and-ride” option that would take people from outlying areas of Byron into town to alleviate traffic congestion. Source: Andy Parks, http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/byron-is-tooting-for-rail/1868142/